Water-cooler gossip in the automotive world seems to suggest that the next Dodge Challenger special edition will resurrect the ACR nameplate first made popular on the nimble Neon and last seen on the Viper supercar. Keen to imagine what a handling-focused Mopar two-door coupe might look like, we turned to InsideEVs star rendering artist Andrei Nedelea for some visual inspiration. Of course, this is all conjecture on our part and nothing has been officially confirmed by Dodge, but that won’t stop us from dreaming about our dream road-course Challenger.
ACR, which unofficially stands for “American club racer,” is a trim level reserved for track-ready versions of Dodge’s sporty cars. Befitting that mission, the Challenger ACR would likely wear carbon-fiber or aluminum bodywork in key areas like the front clip and trunk, improving weight distribution and handling balance and cutting pounds from the big coupe. Key to any modern ACR build is improved aerodynamics, and this Challenger rendering obliges with an aggressive, removable front splitter and a Viper-inspired rear wing. Our artist also mocked up a version with a smaller rear fin inspired by the Dodge Challenger Trans-Am racer of 1970.
We’d bet the ACR will come standard in the Challenger’s “Widebody” configuration, with meaty 305-millimeter-wide tires and adaptive suspension. We’d also expect lightweight wheels and larger brakes to make an appearance on the ACR, which will likely be powered by the R/T Scat Pack’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 485 horsepower (362 kilowatts) and 475 pound-feet (644 Newton-meters). Such a powertrain would allow privateers to enter their Challenger ACRs into many racing series that prohibit forced induction and supercharging.
That said, an ACR with the Hellcat Redeye’s 797-hp (594-kW) supercharged 6.2-liter V8 would be a compelling consumer alternative to the Shelby GT500 Mustang, allowing the non-boosted ACR to go after the GT350 and Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Like the Neons and Vipers that preceded it, we predict the 2021 Challenger ACR should also feature a significantly decontented interior to reduce weight. A rear-seat delete might be either standard or a credit option, while manual air conditioning, a stereo delete, and reduced insulation could further shed pounds. Expect an ACR-ized Challenger to tip the scales at less than 4,000 pounds with the base engine, rising to about 4,100 pounds with the supercharged V8.
If the Challenger ACR is indeed in Dodge’s product plans, we’d expect them to make an announcement before the end of the summer. You can bet we’ve got our fingers crossed.